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Kelsey Block: Making Her Own Adventures

Aug. 12, 2015

Journalism senior Kelsey Block wanted to make adventures for herself, so she decided to go on study abroad.

“The opportunity for study abroad was one of the reasons I chose to come to Michigan State,” said Block who recently studied in Europe as part of the photo communication study abroad program.

While photography has been a hobby of Block’s for a long time, she said she is not particularly skilled with it, which is why she chose to participate in the photo communication program.

Kelsey Block holding Spartan flag over Prague vista“I wanted to improve my knowledge of the technical elements of photography, and what better way to do that than a study abroad in Europe,” she said. “I’m learning to think like a photographer and capture interesting things from unique perspectives.”

Block said she enjoyed seeing the work of professional photographers and experiencing the culture of each place they visit.

“The work of others provided a lot of inspiration for my own photos,” she said. “I could ask, ‘how did you do that?’ And then go try it out for myself.”

Block also noted that the program was especially helpful because the students are at all different skill levels, and they learned from each other.

“You can learn so much more quickly and efficiently when you’re surrounded by a big group of other students than you can playing around on your own in your free time,” Block said. “I definitely learned my way around a camera.”

In addition to the photography skills, students learned about the history of each place they visited.

“For example, the Czech Republic has undergone a lot of political changes in the last 50 years in switching from socialism to capitalism,” Block said. “It was fascinating to learn from the older photographers about how their country has changed in their lifetimes and the implications that has today.”

Study abroad students also gain both cultural and practical knowledge.

“We learned everything from restaurant etiquette to how to take the train in France to communicating despite language barriers,” Block said. “It’s great practice for a reporter; you’re thrown into a completely foreign environment, you don’t even know the language, but you have to figure things out quickly or you’re going to miss something.”

The Photo Communication study abroad program, which ran July 6-Aug. 9, is led by School of Journalism faculty members Howard Bossen, professor of photography and visual communication, and Darcy Greene, associate professor of journalism.

Reprinted with permission from the College of Communications Arts and Sciences website